When I started writing My Sister’s Soul I had no clue that would be the title for this collection of short stories. After reading what I had written and feeling the emotions that drove these women to pivotal moments in their lives, the title, My Sister’s Soul seemed fitting. It crept up on me one night, lodged into my brain, and refused to leave.
I went to dictionary.com and looked up soul. The more definitions I read for soul, the more I knew this title had found a home.
“I can see a corner! Push again!” His tone is a mixture of excitement and anger. It has been a long road for the both of us. The long nights I thought I was, but wasn’t. The fear of not getting it right; of not being accepted. Through it all, he was there. We were finally ready.
“I can’t. I’m tired.” I pant with stolen breaths. I don’t have the strength. I’m borrowing his and that is only taking me so far. “I wish I could, but I’m done.” I steal another painful breath. ” After this one, no more.”
“You say the same thing every time.” He actually chuckles. He is lucky I am weak or I would smack him. “Come on, push! It’s almost over.”
For me, for him, I do as I’m told. The pain is excruciating. My mind lost in concentration.
“One more babe. One more push and it’s here. ” I felt it. I gave it all I had and out it came. I looked down and it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. The pain and misery quickly forgotten as I gazed upon it.
“What will we call this one?” He stares at it in awe.
“My Sister’s Soul,” I reply. I reach out and lovingly stroke the front cover.
“Ready to start on another?” This time I don’t hesitate. I smack him.
My Sister’s Soul. Available in December 2015 at online bookstores.
Painting, Konstantin Somov – Lovers in the Evening
I don’t know what made me start thinking one night about the books I had read which impacted my thoughts, behavior or life in some way. Once I started I could not stop. There aren’t enough hours in a day to write my complete list so here is a quickie.
The Stand – After reading The Stand, I couldn’t move fast enough from people who were sniffling, sneezing or coughing. Didn’t want to touch anything in public either. Dogs and cars? Sometimes I give them a wide berth too (Cujo, Christine).
Salem’s Lot and Desperation – Small towns? No thank you! I don’t want to live in them, drive through them or pass relatively close to them. Airlines have become my best friend. Yeah, yeah…I know he wrote a book about that too.
Cell – Now you know why I don’t answer my cell phone.
The Husband – It taught me to have sympathy and understanding for the supposed bad guy. Of course when it happened to me, all that empathizing went right out the window. I tried to dust the floor with the guy! The novel vaguely reminded me of Henry Miller’s, Sexus.
Nine ½ Weeks – I must have been about fifteen when I read it. Boy, did it open my eyes to a sexual world I never knew existed. Of course I had written erotica since the third grade. So by fifteen I thought I knew it all. From a writer’s perspective of course, not experience. My book debut, Light My Fire, inspired by The Doors and Jose Feliciano, was an instant hit but almost an automatic suspension.
My Last Duchess, Men and Women, The Love Letters of Elizabeth and Robert Browning, and Sonnets of the Portuguese – It is not so much the books and poems themselves that effected me but the tone and the sentiment that was conveyed in every line. The love and influence the couple had upon each other is apparent in their writings. I love poetry, but to this day, never having read those lines since my early high school days, I can still quote “How do I Love Thee” verse for verse. I wanted a love like that. Did I get it? Well… Their book of love letters also inspired me to write my own; my first published book, To The One I Love.
Books of Blood – Talk about nightmares! This collection of short stories had me screaming in the night but I still came back for more. Since all his books have the same result, I didn’t bother to list more than one.
Stephanie Plum Novels – She taught me you can be destitute, have a broken-down car that probably won’t last more than a few weeks or months, have a ex-ho for a best friend, be resourceful, clueless and still get the job done. Not to mention have two hot guys chasing after you.
Almost everything he’s published: I learned don’t trust blood banks, organ donors cards, doctors, injections, genetic testing and HMOs. And for Pete’s sake, never…ever…jog alone, let others breath on you, look at you, or stand next to you! An ambulance you say? No thanks, I’ll grab a cab. His novels gave me “white coat syndrome” for sure. Unfortunately I don’t regret the introduction.
The Lucas Davenport Novels – Don’t get me wrong, I certainly wouldn’t pass up Virgil Flowers, but my ultimate book boyfriend is none other than Lucas Davenport. He’s large and in charge with a side of nasty. Rich, intelligent, good-looking; he is a cop that’s not afraid to get his hands dirty or scuff his Ferragamo shoes. What’s not to love?
Mistress, Jane Eyre, Love Only Once, The Gorgeous Nothings – What girl or woman who reads romance classics and regency romances hasn’t imagined herself in flowing gowns of ruffles and lace? Sometimes I am embroiled in a tryst with a dark domineering hero, at other times my imagination runs along the lines of a more genteel setting of balls, tea rooms and quiet longing.
God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Spirituals in Verse – When James Weldon Johnson is mentioned, one of his works that quickly comes to mind is Lift Every Voice (The Black National Anthem). My favorite however is God’s Trombones. I still get caught up in this beautiful portrayal of God in The Creation. The poem also reminds me of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker because of the line, “With his head in his hands, God thought and thought, til he though, ‘I think I’ll make a man’.”
The names and titles above barely scratch the surface. I read more than four hundred books a year so you can only shudder at the thought of what stimulates my actions and thoughts.
Tell me what novels, short stories and poems move you to live, think and act certain ways. I’d love to know.
Audelia is young, talented with a ton of possibilities lined up for her future. She just has one major problem. The monster…
I hate her. She is the bane of my existence. I often prey for the ability to wish her away the way that child did in an episode of the Twilight Zone. Her crystal blue eyes come to rest where I sit, half hidden in a corner of the room, and my thoughts desert me. The corners of her mouth twist up in a parody of a smile and I visibly cringe. Oh no.
“Audelia, dear, come here,” she beckons with dulce tones. The royal court surrounding the Queen Bee watches with indulgent smiles as I cautiously make my way to her. She offers me her hand as I draw near and I hesitantly take it. Her long cold fingers, first caress, then curl around my hand. The Queen Bee’s smile is as bright as the highly buffed chrome on my father’s old Cadillac.
The air is filled with sighs and ah’s as the nearby crowd witnesses what they think is a touching moment. If they looked hard enough, they would see the talon-like nails digging into the flesh of my palm. If they truly cared, they would notice the frostbitten eyes that sear into me. But the Queen Bee has played this game for a very long time. People see what she allows them to see. They have never met the monster which lies beneath the beauty. Never felt her all-consuming and constant wrath.
Whether awake or in slumber, I suffer mercilessly in this hell. A hell where the monster reigns. At times, I am more frightened of myself than of the monster. Will I awaken one day and find myself to be the mirror image of her inside and out? After all, she is my mother…
You can read the rest of Audelia’s ordeal in My Sister’s Soul which will be available at online booksellers the first week of December.
I think book trailers are a wonderful thing. If you are familiar with Chronicle Keeperz, you know that there is or was a trailer for every book published. I figured, why break from tradition. So here it is the trailer for To The One I Love.